Horses

N.J. Woman And her Mustang Are a Dynamic Endurance Duo

a7f74e09a126bd04f1a8_a.JPG
Kate Vogel and Fez stop for a drink on a competitive trail ride. Credits: Wanda Clowter Photography
14963419db9960121f40_b.JPG
Kate Vogel and Fez cool out after a competitive trail ride. Credits: Wanda Clowter Photography
6f142c1e212738eab106_e.JPG
Fez goofs around in the trailer Credits: Provided
d368e4824316d375f72e_c.JPG
Kate Vogel and Fez Credits: Wanda Clowter Photography
9f85362d2e8200c3adc6_d.JPG
Fez gets a drink on the trail Credits: Wanda Clowter Photography
a7f74e09a126bd04f1a8_a.JPG

Don’t underestimate the power of a diminutive woman and her diminutive horse, especially when she’s wearing “cheap and brightly colored riding tights,” her signature style. The 4’ 10” Kate Vogel, and her 14.3 mustang, Fez, won three of the New Jersey Trail Ride Association’s (NJTRA) competitive trail rides (CTR) last year — the Bunny Hop, a 25-mile ride; the New Jersey 3-Day 100 and the Jersey Devil, a two-day 50-mile ride.

They also participated in several endurance rides, where they finished in the top 10. Along the way, Vogel and Fez won the highest number of points in the Colts Neck Trail Riders Club open hunter pace division, as well as riding in parades and doing meet-and-greets for equine organizations at the Monmouth County Library. This year, the duo hopes to compete in more 3-day 100 CTRs, as well as a 75-mile endurance ride and possibly the Moonlight in Vermont ride, a 50-miler held during a full moon.

What exactly is the difference between endurance and CTRs? According to the North American Trail Ride Conference, “Both cover a set, measured course, and the veterinary judge closely monitors the horses in both sports. 

Sign Up for E-News

Endurance rides must be completed within a maximum time, and the winner is the horse that finishes first and is judged fit to continue. But in CTR, the horse and rider must finish the ride within a window of time, and speed is not a judging factor.

Horse manners are judged in CTR trail riding, as is horsemanship; these are not judged in endurance. In endurance riding, horses are checked by a veterinary judge at certain points and are judged as fit to continue. The veterinary judge in CTR will check the horse anywhere along the trail, and the horse is judged on whether his parameters have changed since the baseline established at Friday check-in. Riders can proceed on foot in endurance riding, but for all forward motion in competitive trail riding, the rider must be mounted.”
Vogel, 58, of Howell, N.J., grew up in Gloucestershire, England, the youngest of five children born to a country doctor and his wife. As a teen, she hunted with the Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt and the Ledbury Hunt, participating in both hunts’ Pony Clubs and earning an “A” level in horsemanship.

She was later an apprentice jockey at Goodwood Racecourse, but found she wasn't tough enough to become a professional jockey. Vogel eventually earned a degree in poultry production from a UK agricultural college, a degree she admits she’s never used “Unless you count the six chickens I had at home until the coyotes ate them.”

She met her husband Ethan in 1982 and married and moved to the U.S. in 1985. Once here, she began riding at Overpeck Stables in Bergen County. “It was so contained and disciplined versus riding in England. It was good for me,” said Vogel.

Her mustang, The Fabulous Fez, hails from Wyoming’s Divide Basin and was captured at the age of 3. Now 14, Fez was 6 when he came into Vogel’s life. She found him on Dreamhorse.com, and the green broke gelding had two previous owners. Vogel’s daughter Diana saw him on the website at the same time as her mom, and both women instantly thought there was something about him that demanded further inquiry.

Fez was originally called DeFazio, a la “Laverne and Shirley,” but Vogel said that’s only because she misheard his actual name, Desafio, which is Portuguese for “challenge.” DNA tests reveal that Fez is primarily Morgan, with some quarter horse and Rocky Mountain blood.

Fez isn’t the only equine in Vogel’s backyard. His companion is Waterloo Willie, an 11-year old chestnut Standardbred she adopted from the Standardbred Retirement Foundation after the organization rescued him from a kill buyer.

When asked about her conditioning regimen, Vogel said Fez is already in good condition, as he lives out 24/7. She’ll start riding him next month in preparation for their first competition at the end of March. She focuses on interval training, walking a bit, trotting a bit, and working up slowly to more heavy trotting. “I don’t push him,” she said. Her training schedule for most of the season consists of three or four outings per week at 45 minutes to an hour each ride. “I don’t do 20-mile rides on the weekend. I want the long rides for when he is competing,” she said.

“I’m not a show ring person anymore,” said Vogel. “It’s too much money to ride in a ring for three minutes.” With CTR or endurance, it doesn’t matter what type of clothing you wear or what type of horse and tack you have. “It’s all about you and your horse, out on the trail,” she said. Vogel wants to attract juniors to the sport, and said always more than willing to have a junior tag along with her on a ride.

Endurance rider Wendy Mancini, of Wall, N.J., has known Vogel for 17 years now, meeting through the NJTRA. “One of the things about Katie that makes her a good horseperson is that she is calm, steady and yet firm. She doesn’t get flustered,” said Mancini, “That clam and steady attitude is always communicated to the horse.”

She adds that through CTR, Vogel has developed the discipline of pacing to travel many miles at a steady pace to maintain aerobic metabolism in the horse. “Katie reads educational articles on endurance, attends seminars, listens to the stories of expert riders and communicates with the veterinarians associated with CTR and endurance. She understands the equine physiology of endurance and manages her horses carefully to avoid metabolic imbalances, muscle and tendon use injuries,” said Mancini. “Endurance is a complicated equine discipline, more so than most would believe. Katie’s steady training of Fez and her accomplishments with Fez are a tribute to her ability to apply concepts of equine physiology and equine psychology to riding long distances – 50 miles or more. It is notable that Fez is a mustang in an endurance world that is dominated by Arabians. And yet, what better horse to compete in endurance than a mustang?” said Mancini.

For more information on the New Jersey Trail Ride Association see www.njtrailride.org

See more Equestrian news at www.TAPintoHorses.net

Find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TAPintoHorses/

TAP Into Your Local News:

Sign Up for E-News

Equestrian Events, February 2018 onward

Dates listed for New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, to list your dates e-mail lshupe@tapinto.net

Feb. 23 — Hearts for Horses Fundraiser to Benefit Special People United to Ride, Inc.’s Scholarship Fund. 6:30 p.m. at On the Deck Restaurant and Bar, 10 Simon Lake Drive, Atlantic Highlands, N.J. 07716, live music and a 50/50 raffle. Food will be available for purchase. Tickets can ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, February 23

Congregation Beth Israel, Scotch Plains

Raffle for 4 tickets to "Frozen" on Broadway

Arts & Entertainment

Fri, February 23

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Fri, February 23

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Hearts for Horses Fundraiser on Feb. 23 benefits SPUR

February 20, 2018

Come in from the cold and join Special People United to Ride, Inc. (SPUR) at its Hearts for Horses Fundraiser on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.

All proceeds will benefit the SPUR Scholarship Fund. The event will be hosted by On the Deck Restaurant and Bar and will feature live music and a 50/50 raffle. Food will be available for purchase.

Tickets can be obtained for $25 at ...

Author Donates Portion Of Sales To Equestrian Aid Foundation

WELLINGTON, Fla. — Author Shane Ledyard will donate a portion of the paperback sales of his latest book, “Sycamore Whispers,” to the Equestrian Aid Foundation through February.

Equestrian Aid Foundation provides financial assistance to horse people from all corners of the U.S. equestrian world who are facing catastrophic injury or illness.

Purchase “Sycamore ...

SRF Has Breedings for Sale

MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, N.J.— The Standardbred Retirement Foundation has many breedings for sale as of Feb. 13 and anticipates others to become available throughout the season. To access the list, or to donate a breeding and receive a tax deduction for your gift, contact Tammy at 732 446-4422, or via email at SRFHorsesandKids@gmail.com.

The list of current available breedings can be ...

Harness Museum Sets Feb. 18 Program For Youth

Caring for Horses in Winter Weather and Making Model Horse Blankets

Sunday, Feb. 18 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

GOSHEN, N.Y. — Visit the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, located at 240 Main Street, Goshen, NY on Sunday, Feb. 18, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for a presentation and activities related to understanding the effects of winter weather on horses. Participate in ...

Webless Charlotte

Dear BB,

I hope you can help me. I read all of your blogs, but have not seen a problem like mine in them.

I am a spider. I used to live in the human’s house, but she had some kind of fuzzy gadget that she used to brush away my webs. I looked around and found a barn on the property that is much like yours. The door has a top part and a bottom part. The weather here is warm and the top ...